jokoy taking over
Where are you originally from?
America! Well to be specific I’m half White & half Filipino. My dad was in the military and I’m a military kid. My dad was stationed in Wasawa, Japan and that’s where I was born. Before I turned Eighteen, I had a choice to be either Japanese or American, so I went with American. Don’t get me wrong I still Love You Japan.
How did you get to where you are now?
I Worked Hard! I knew I wanted to be a comic when I was like eleven. All throughout my school days I was a class clown. Once I got out of High School I went for it and didn’t stop hustling. What I did was get numerous of part time jobs my whole life. “Disposable Jobs” is what I called them. When I get a gig and my job didn’t let me have it, I would just quit on the spot. BYE! See Yah! and walk out. I kept doing that until I got to where I am now.
How long did it take you to get to where you want to be?
I’m not even there yet, it’s been 30 years. I started 1989 and I’m happy where I’m at but there’s so much more that I want. 30 years to get to where I’m at now, it will probably take another 30 more years to get to where I want to be. But don’t get me wrong I’m happy where I’m at now. I’m just the type of person to not give up and I want to keep pushing my limits. Make it til you break it buddy.
There’s so much obstacle being an Asian-American artist. What are the struggles you encountered being an Asian-American artist.
I don’t know, I think being a pigeon hold in one spot is more like it. Talking about having an Asian mother for some reason people think that it’s relatable. Until they actually hear it and they go “Oh! It’s very relatable, it’s just the mom”. Face it mom do mom things, it doesn’t matter what race you are. Moms are moms. That was my only struggle, but once I figured it out I was able to get my point across. For crying out loud I use my mom all the time.
A lot of Asian American are being casted now, what are the difference then and now?
I remember casting when I was a kid. I was either a Kung Fu guy, Computer Genius or Math Genius. It’s always the smartest kid in the class or an exchange student from Asia. Or what’s even funnier is an Asian Lady married to the African American guy that had a son lol. That’s how it was back in my day growing up. Now it’s like all over the place. You the the Jabbawockeez winning Americas Best Dance Crew. You got a little Asian girl winning America’s Got Talent. You got TV shows like “Fresh Off The Boat”. There’s so much more now you can’t compare anymore. You got Bruno Mars, Nicole Scherzinger, Vanessa Hudgens, Dave Bautista, Hailee Steinfeld & Enrique Eglesias that’s half Filipino. You got that big movie hit “Crazy Rich Asians”. There’s so much Asians coming out now, I think people just realize it’s the untapped talent. Talent is talent, it doesn’t matter what your ethnicity is, if you’re good at what you do it doesn’t matter what race you are. But definitely it’s different now than before.
Do you still find it difficult on getting casted or was there major changes.
There’s definitely major changes now and I think we are definitely moving forward when it comes to type casting. There’s still a little here and there but that’s just how it is. Baby steps but the roles are out there. It depends on how talented you are, being aggressive and hungry will definitely help. Hollywood is changing, everybody is changing and time is definitely changing. I’m just happy I’m along for the ride.
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened in School?
OMG! Ok I was in this accounting class which I know I was clearly failing. I don’t even think I got a D on any of her test, I just remembered getting F’s after F’s. Her name was Mrs. Kanoy, Foss High School 1989. I was such a bad kid and I was always thinking about just being funny all the time. Specially in that class. Mrs. Kanoy always laughed at what I did, and that’s basically where I got a taste of my first stand up. She always tells me if you can hold the jokes til the last 10 minutes of class Joe, I’ll let you stand in front of class and use the projector. Remember those old projectors that teachers uses to write and project stuff. Well that’s the one. She let me do everything on that projector. I wrote on it, drew on it, stand it front of it and use it as a spotlight to tell my jokes etc. She made it clear that as long as I don’t disturb her class and let her teach for 45 minutes, she will give me the last 10 minutes to do any skit that I was with that projector. Those where the funniest moments I ever done in class. If she didn’t let me do that, I don’t know if I’ll be ready for the real world. That was kinda my training course before I got out of High School. So thank you Mrs. Kanoy.
Do you have any secret talents?
I don’t know about secret talents, I’m pretty much a Jack of all Trades. What I do love aside from comedy are editing videos, I love shooting, making flyers anything post production. If it’s not comedy I’ll be involved in some kind of artistic production in the Entertainment industry. Some how some way I’ll be involved. That’s my secret talent, off stage I like to shoot things and brainstorm things for comedic purposes to bring it to life.
Who is your dream co star?
Oooohh this is a good one. There’s so many talented actors/actresses out there, if I had a choice it will have to be Adam Sandler. That’s the one person that comes to mind. “There’s so many to choose from, there’s so many in Hollywood” in Mel B voice. But that’s the one person I would love to work with, Adam Sandler. I met Adam once when I first move to Los Angeles. One of my first deals was to work with Adam Sandler, I went all the way up to the last hour of casting but didn’t go through. I was bummed but there’s always next time. That’s when I met Adam Sandler.
What advice would you give to a fellow comedian starting off?
ALWAYS Enjoy the Journey. Entertainment is a long hard road. You’re gonna hear a lot of NO’s but just wait for that YES. There’s going to be a lot of bumps on the road but never ever give up. It’s worth it, trust me. I would’ve given up a long time ago when I was doing those Part Timers. Like when I was working at Nordstrom Rack shelving shoes, or putting books back at Borders Books, or cleaning table at a party I couldn’t stand at. Looking back I really didn’t want to be at that dinner party, I just had to be there cleaning tables. But that’s what I had to do to get to where I am now. It makes it that much more enjoyable when you have a crappy gig and then getting an awesome gig. You definitely get to cherish and enjoy that great gig. I still remember starting stand up, I didn’t have a mustache look at me now styling this gray beard. Damn I look good lol.
You can catch JoKoy on his Netflix Special “JOKOY Comin’ in HOT”
Photographer: Isaac Alvarez @isaacalvarezraw